If you have read many of my articles, will you know that I love, love, love the beauty of animals in their natural habitat. I just can’t get over the awesomeness of these creatures, big and small, going about their business in their little homes that, really, we know so little about. And in San Diego we are so lucky to be able to see so much wildlife.
Last year I wrote about whale watching from Point Loma. This year, I was able to step up my whale-watching experience and get out on the open sea to view the beautiful gray whales up close on their migration south to the warmer waters of Baja California. I took my 8-year-old son, Jared, with me on an excursion with Flagship Cruises, partnered with Birch Aquarium. We had an amazing experience with them.
Our tickets were for the 9:30 am excursion and it was a cool, gorgeous morning. The boat itself has many services available.
They took this picture of us before departure and was available for purchase when we disembarked. Snacks and beverages are available for purchase. And the staff is friendly and helpful.
The ride from the dock through the bay out to the open ocean is about 40 minutes. The bay is calm and the views of San Diego are magnificent – the downtown skyline, Point Loma and the lighthouse, Hotel del Coronado, lazy sea lions hanging out on the buoys and more. The swells start rocking the boat quite a bit as you leave the bay and enter the Pacific Ocean. (If you are prone to motion sickness, be sure to take some Dramamine well before heading out!)
Now it was time to watch for the amazing mammals making their way through San Diego waters along their 10,000-mile round-trip journey from their Bering Sea feeding grounds to Baja California’s lagoons, where they play, rest, breed, and give birth. The experienced navigators of Flagship Cruises partnered with the expert naturalists of Birch Aquarium gave us a thrilling experience. We were able to follow a couple of whales during our time on the water. There we sat, just watching them, as they moved along, coming up for air as they swam along. We could see their heart-shaped blows as they’d breathe after a dive. We saw a couple of flukes (tails) lifted in the air as they headed down for a deep dive. What a sight. The tour was narrated by a naturalist from Birch Aquarium giving us a rich experience as we learned and developed greater appreciation for these beautiful creatures.
We were also visited by some sea lions and dolphins jumping and following the wake of the boat. What fun. We wanted to stay out all day and enjoy the playfulness of these ocean mammals. But by about noon, it was time to head back in and return to the docks by 1 p.m. What an adventure! What a treat to take my son and enjoy such an experience together. He loved using the binoculars to get an even closer look at the wildlife around us.
This is just the start of the whale watching season, which runs through April. Go book a tour through Flagship Cruises and enjoy the chance to see the gray whales up close, and learn so much more with the experts from Birch Aquarium.
Daily Whale Watching Cruises
Now-April 14, 2013
Daily tours: 9:45 am-1:15pm & 1:30-5pm with Flagship Cruises & Events
Public: $37 weekdays, $42 weekends
Seniors/Military: $32 weekdays, $37 weekends
Youth (4-12 with paid adult): $18.50 weekdays, $21 weekends
RSVP recommended. Tickets: Call Flagship Cruises & Events at 619-234-4111 or order online at http://www.sdhe.com/san-diego-whale-watching.html
Note: My son and I received free media passes for this whale watching experience in exchange for my honest review.
Other ways to enjoy San Diego’s Wildlife